Saturday, January 28, 2017

Joanna Brouk - Hearing Music

Joanna and I  met as students at U.C. Berkeley in the halcyon years of protest, New Age, and just being young artists in an exciting time in our lives. I created a series of drawings for Joanna and my other friend Felicia, in a collaboration we did to create a book of poetry. I lost touch with Joanna and Felicia, but I put their poems up on my website.  In 2008 I was contacted by Felicia, and spent time with her before she passed away in 2010.  Not too long after that Joanna and I reconnected, and we've been friends again ever since.  

She was one of the early composers of synthesizer music.  I remember a beautiful piece she performed for Hearts of Space using a Tibetan gong....for years I played it on an old tape until it finally stopped working.  I also remember standing in the stairwell of Kroeber Hall, where the art and anthro departments at U.C. B. was, while Joanna recorded me singing to the echoes of the building.  It ended up in a piece of music, and it was ghostly to hear my  own voice from so long ago within the album. 

I was delighted to learn that Joanna's music has been re-released, and she will be doing concerts again, among them in Paris this summer.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Goddess goes to the Women's March

I am very pleased to be participating in the Women's March here in Tucson (I wish I could go to D.C., but am not able to).  I am amazed and delighted to see this march occuring not just in cities across the U.S., but around the world.  This is what the Arising of the Goddess looks like.  And I'm also delighted that some of the Masks of the Goddess will be marching in Oakland, in Northern California, in Phoenix, and in Tucson.  Thank you!   Because it is the power of these Goddesses, within every woman and within the world, that may very well be what saves the world.

CNN Article:  

Info on many related marches happening around the world, and how you can join them:


Sister Marches are solidarity events inspired by the Women's March on Washington, and organized by volunteers around the world. If you can't make it to Washington, D.C. on January 21, join or host a Sister March near you.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Vijali and the World Wheel


Many years ago I saw Vijali Hamilton become GAIA, as she began her "World Wheel" project, a series of artworks she co-created around the world with many people.  She has been weaving the World Wheels for over 30 years now, and has founded the World Wheel Center near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  I am in awe of Vijali.  As she says of the origins of her life work,  
"The motivation for the World Wheel came from an experience in the mid 70’s when my perception of ourselves and the world shifted, and the Unity of life stood revealed. The next few years were a search for a way to live within this web of life that connects all life.  Specific ideas for the World Wheel came to me in a dream. I saw myself carving sculptures out of the living rock and involving people from many cultures in a process of ritual in a giant circle around the world. The circle itself represents Unity in the sense that each spoke of the wheel has a quality that is unique and distinct from every other spoke of the wheel. And yet it is from these differences that harmony arises, from these differences that the whole is created."

Vijali as "GAIA"


I felt like sharing her work here, because of late I need to remember the visionaries I've met and known, I need to remember and honor the visionaries, period.   

Perhaps one of my favorite points on her first Wheel was when she went to India, where she met a group of Baul musicians, and ended up staying in their village, and creating with them.  

Here's what she had to say about it:

Creating A Mandala House For A Village — Falling In Love with a Village 

West Bengal, India

"In West Bengal, India, I fell in love with a group of destitute Baul folk musicians who were singing for money on the train. I kept giving them coins to stay in my compartment and eventually they invited me to their village.

They were as generous as they were poor. When the villagers heard that a guest had arrived, they spread a mat under a tree for me. Women brought spiced tea, and the children of the village put jasmine garlands around my neck and danced and sang. A full moon appeared and the night sky shimmered with stars. It was one of the most beautiful evenings of my life.

I asked them the three questions I ask in every country. They answered, "We come from the womb of our mother. We really come from the mother who is the Earth. We are part of the Great Goddess. Our essence is the Great Kali." I also asked, "What is the imbalance in your lives and in your village?" They replied: "We are exhausted and under strain all the time because we have to go out and wander so we can make money. When we come back, we don't always have enough money and food for our families." And my third question, what could heal their problem? They answered, "To really love our singing and not worry about the future. Just to keep on doing what we are doing, but give up anxiety and be God conscious every moment of our day."

They found a hut for me and I moved into the village. I became aware that the tribal village was made up of mixed castes. I kept imagining them all sitting down in one circle. Finally I saw what was needed - a communal house, a commons where they could come together, practice and perform their music, have their own pujas (ceremonies), and hold school for their children. This is how I came to build the Mandala House in the village.

At first the Bauls just watched. According to the caste system they only sing, they don't do any physical work. But as I, their honored guest, worked with the low castes in the mud, someone came to help. Then his brother came, then the father, and pretty soon someone else in the village would stop and say, "Oh, my goodness, you don't do it that way; here, let me show you." And they would help. That's how it happened."

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Amaterasu and the Return of the Sun

Hail and Awake!
Children of the blue, brown and green Earth
I have come from my shining abode in Heaven
I am Amaterasu Omikami - 
Great Woman Who Possesses Noon
Here is a gift for you:
A mirror, to draw you from your cave of sleeping
To see yourself in all your wonder:
Allow me to introduce you - to yourself!

Mary Kay Landon

A wonderful story for the time of the Winter  Solstice comes from Japan, the tale of Amaterasu,  Goddess of  the Sun.  I felt like sharing it again..........

Angered by her vulgar, violent brother Susanowa,  god of storms,  Amaterasu Omikami fell into despair about the ugliness and the ignorance of the world.  She retreated to a cave, and refused to  come out. And so, deprived of her warmth and light, the world began to die.

All the deities and spirits came to the mouth of her cave, and begged the goddess to come out. But Amaterasu Omikami, withdrawn into her dark musings,  would not, and all the pleas of those gathered could not persuade her to return to the world.

At last, the little goddess Uzume placed a mirror at the entrance to the cave.  Then Uzume, known for her high humor, began to dance. Her dance was so bawdy, so absurd.......that everyone gathered had to laugh, in spite of their dire circumstances. They laughed and laughed and laughed!

At last, with so much raucous laughter, even Amaterasu's dark thoughts were interrupted with sheer curiosity.  She opened the cave door just a crack, and peeked out.  And at that moment, her radiant,  face was reflected in the mirror. At that very moment, she saw how beautiful she was - and rememberd how much joy and laughter there still was in the world.  And that is how Amaterasu left her cave of dark despair, forgot about her anger and disillusionment, and joined the dance, shining again in all of her glory.  

There are caves of darkness into which we all retreat. Sometimes we need to do that to heal.  But sometimes we forget how to come out of those caves, we forget how to laugh.   For a day, a month, too many years, perhaps a lifetime. Sometimes, it takes the little tricksters to pull us away from those abysses of the heart.  In order to see how beautiful, how valuable, how important the light in each of us really is.   Then we find the the will to rejoin the hilarious, heartbreaking dance of life - and once again,  be the Sun.

Mana Youngbear  (2004)


Laura Janesdaughter (1999)